This Time of Year

God is my constant. This time of year, God usually reveals His power in ways that seem to hurt me but later reveal He was indeed helping me. He’s a constant Father in that way. This time of year, God usually pushes me inward to discover something that I’d lost. He’s a constant Friend in that way. This time of year, God usually breaks open the sky so that I can see Him more clearly. He’s a constant Provider in that way. This time of year, God usually exposes the enemy from its miserable hidden spaces. He’s a constant Protector in that way.

But why does God pursue me in this way? Why does He hold on so tight? Because I asked Him to. I asked God never to leave me. I asked God never to let me miss Him moving in my midst. And this time of the year, an intentional season of sacrifice and prayer, my eyes and ears are locked onto God like never before. I am His, and He is mine. This time of year, I am renewed in God saving me from foolishness. This time of year, I am reminded that I am set free from the shackles I’ve allowed to debilitate me. This time of year, I am resurrected from the weight of someone else’s hurtful words and deceptive schemes. I give notice; I belong to the one who is my constant. He will hold me with His mighty hand. God is my father, friend, provider, and protector! Who is your constant? To whom do you belong?

Wow!

There’s a beautiful overlook in the Oakland Hills where we take visiting family and friends for a breathtaking view of Oakland, the Bay and in the far-off distance, San Francisco. On every trip to the overlook we would guide our guests along a short trail lined with flowered weeds to a designated spot furnished with a dilapidated wooden bench. Everyone would gaze at the amazement of such a beautiful view. Wow!

On one specific occasion, our trip to the overlook rendered a different experience. My aunt and cousin were in town and my youngest had a friend visiting from the east coast. All of us, including my oldest daughter, went to the overlook. We took them along the trail and relived the usual “amazing” moment. But that day my cousin presented an option to travel a faint path just along the edge of our amazing view. Before we could talk ourselves out of the unusual suggestion, my cousin was already leading the way. She simply hollered for us to “come on”. A little fearful, we all took each other’s hand and led each other through the sticky brush. Some of us squealed. Some of us hollered. Some of us were silent. But we stayed the course, anxious to get to the end. Along the way we happened upon a serene clearing that fancied a huge tree with hanging strong branches. We stayed a while there, the younger ones playing from the branches, enjoying the hovered area and the cool breeze. In no time my cousin was back on her feet leading us further along the trail, determined there was an even greater experience ahead. We followed suit, hand in hand, one behind the other. Then it happened.

There was another clearing. However, this one was much bigger than the last. There were no hovering trees or branches. Just an open clearing where the sun had its stage to shine freely. And then we saw it. The view left us speechless. The “amazing” view we thought we experienced along our usual path was magnified ten times over with what we were experiencing in that moment. Wow!

The impact of leadership is realized in these two experiences. The leader who takes his/her followers down clear paths of opportunity will yield expected outcomes, leaving usual impressions, right along the edge of promise. The leader who takes his/her followers down hidden paths will inspire faith and courage, yielding joy and peace, leaving an impact of purpose and an assurance of being in the right place at the right time. The glory of God shines the brightest on the unusual leading of God, on the uncomfortable journeys that lead to an anticipated destination of indescribable beauty – indescribable grace. Wow!